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  • Bennett, Reginald, W

Bennett, Reginald, W

A minority pioneering food microbiologist.
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Bennett, Reginald, W

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Type: Professional
  • Universities/Colleges:
  • .S. and M.S. degrees in Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh ,
  • Organizations:
  • Istanbul Technical University in Turkey, University of Maryland, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Catholic University in Chile, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Massey University, New Zealand, and the Unive
  • Affiliations:
  • Institute of Food Technologies, American Society for Microbiology, International Society for Food Protection, Official Analytical Chemists International
  • Awards:
  • President’s Lifetime Achievement Award (International Assoc for Food Protection - 2004), Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service (2003)
  • Published Works:
  • 150 Journal Articles and/or book chapters
  • Public Speaking:
  • 207 lectures, including technical, academic, organizational, and government-sponsored presentations
  • Business Details
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  • Reviews

Reginald Bennett is a Senior Policy Analyst with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An acclaimed research microbiologist, Mr. Bennett has 58 years of experience in the industry, most of which have been spent with the FDA.

Mr. Bennett’s research focus has been the development of research methods pertaining to five specific bacteria, which can cause food poisoning when ingested: 1) Staphylococcal Enterotoxin; 2)Enterotoxigenic Staphylococci; 3) Bacillus cereus Toxins; 4) Toxigenic Bacillus, and 5) Serodiagnosis of Listeria monocytogenes. Specifically, Mr. Bennett pioneered methods for detecting and identifying the kind of heat-altered toxic bacteria present in canned foods which causes the most common form of food poisoning. So significant was Mr. Bennett’s research, he was asked to train other industry professionals working for the FDA as well as scientists working in the laboratories of foreign governments. (A series of photos showing Mr. Bennett perusing research texts and training foreign scientists was featured in Collier’s Year Book, as well as a number of trade magazines within the food industry.) Because of Mr. Bennett’s life work studying how these toxins thrive and how to prevent them from flourishing in our food, civilians like us have the peace of mind that our food is safely regulated – and can leave the scary-looking terminology to him.

In order to further circulate all that he has learned about foodborne illnesses, Mr. Bennett has authored or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and presented at conferences in 14 different countries. At last count, he has given a staggering 207 lectures, including technical, academic, organizational, and government-sponsored presentations. He has also worked as a consultant for organizations and foreign governments since the early 1970s. Mr. Bennett has held lectureships at a number of universities, including Istanbul Technical University in Turkey, University of Maryland, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Catholic University in Chile, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Massey University, New Zealand, and the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has also served as Assistant Professor of Food Microbiology at Benedict University in South Carolina.

For his research, Mr. Bennett has received numerous awards during his career, including several from the FDA. Most recently, has received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Food Protection in 2004 and the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2003. Always looking for new developments in his field, Mr. Bennett is affiliated with the Institute of Food Technologies, the American Society for Microbiology, International Society for Food Protection, and is a Fellow of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists International and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Mr. Bennett was born on December 14th, 1933 in Bowling Green, Virginia. His father, Dr. C.N. Bennett, was Supervisor of Federal Programs for the Prince William County School System, and showed his young son how rewarding government work could be. Mr. Bennett earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh in 1955 and 1958, respectively; he also completed coursework at NIH Graduate School and the University of Virginia. Before working with the government, he spent three years working in Pennsylvania hospitals. From 1956 to 1959 he was a Medical Bacteriologist at Presbyterian Hospital of Pittsburgh, Medical Technologist at Braddock General Hospital, Chief Bacteriologist at Braddock General Hospital, and Bacteriologist at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Then he became Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Benedict University, before joining the FDA in 1960. He held a number of different positions during this time, beginning in the familiar position of Microbiologist before working into a research capacity, in which he remained for more than three decades. Starting in 1993, Mr. Bennett took on more of an administrative role, becoming Acting Chief of the Food and Cosmetic Biology Branch. In 1997, he became Chief of the Microbial Methods Development Branch within the Division of Microbiology, before accepting his current role in 2008.

And he’s still working, as he approaches his 82nd birthday. “My heart for food microbiology never skipped a beat,” he says.

For his exceptional work, Mr. Bennett has been honored with the:

  • IAOTP's Lifetime Achievement AwardIAOTP's Lifetime Achievement Award
    President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, International Association for Food Protection (2004)
  • Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service (2003)
  • Group Recognition Award, Microbiology Rapid Methods Working Group, Food, and Drug Administration (1997)
  • In Superior Service Award for Public Health Service (1995)
  • On the Spot and Excellence in Science Awards, Food and Drug Administration (1994)
  • International’s Harvey W. Wiley Award, Association of Official Analytical Chemists (1991)
  • Group Recognition Award, Chinese Canned Mushroom Group, Food, and Drug Administration (1990)
  • Distinguished Service Award, Rapid Methods, and Automation in Microbiology Workshops, Division of Continuing Education, Kansas State University, Manhattan (1987-1997)
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